police wellness check

RCMP finally respond to that disturbing video of a wellness check

Police have finally commented on a wellness check that went terribly wrong. In January, RCMP allegedly stepped on a UBCO's nursing student's arm and kicked her in the stomach during what was supposed to be a routine check on her mental health.  

A lawsuit filed by Mona Wang, 20, claims that police officers called her a "stupid idiot" and told her to "stop being dramatic" during the wellness check.

Surveillance footage of Const. Lacey Browning dragging Wang along the floor of the building's lobby recently surfaced on social media, prompting a widespread backlash from Canadians.

Now, more than eight days after the footage went viral, B.C. RCMP has issued an official response to the incident.

"The last number of weeks have highlighted law enforcement in this country, most of which has not been positive," Chief Supt. Brad Haugli said, speaking at a press conference on Thursday. "I want you to know I have heard your concerns."

Haugli said that as soon as the video of the wellness check on Wang was shared with Kelowna Detachment senior management, an investigation was made a "priority."

He added that investigative findings will be shared with Crown Counsel to determine if a criminal charge should be laid. The investigation should conclude sometime in July.

Browning — the police officer involved in the incident — has been removed from operational work and placed into an administrative role for the time being.

In response to the incident, Haugli also says that he wants to expand the Police and Crisis Team program (PACT), which sees a dedicated psychiatric nurse and an RCMP officer respond to calls together.

"Given the UCBO case and other wellness check cases highlighted throughout the country, my team and I feel it is of the utmost importance to expand the best practice of the Police and Crisis Team program in Southeast District," Haugi said.

Currently, there are only two active PACT programs in the Southeast District — one in Kelowna and one in Kamloops — but Haugli hopes to introduce them into more communities.

Haugli says that more calls from people in crisis "should and could" be assessed by a trained mental health worker.

Haugli added that Wang will be provided with the findings of the police investigation.

"I continue to be proud of the profession I chose and I am proud to be a member of the RCMP," Haugli said. "I believe high public confidence and accountability is a key element for success in policing no matter the colour of stripe you wear."

Lead photo by

Provincial Court of British Columbia

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